By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times
President Xi meets Putin, to attend economic forum
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in the Kremlin in Moscow on Wednesday. Xi is in Russia this week and is expected to attend Russia’s main economic conference in St. Petersburg. Photo: AP
China and Russia on Wednesday lifted bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era as President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Wednesday evening Beijing time for a state visit to Russia.
This marks Xi’s eighth presidential trip to Russia since 2013. Xi held talks in the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese president is expected to attend the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
China and Russia vowed to strengthen contemporary global strategic stability in a joint statement signed by Xi and Putin, Xinhua reported.
As the two countries celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, the visit shows that bilateral ties are developing in a “healthy, stable and vigorous” manner, Wu Enyuan, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
One day ahead of his trip, Xi told Russian media that China and Russia have the confidence and capability to bring bilateral relations to a new era of greater development at a higher level.
The relations between China and Russia is at their best in history and are presenting new opportunities for further development, Xi said during a joint interview with TASS Russian News Agency and Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper on the eve of his departure.
The cooperation between China and Russia has never been about seeking selfish gains, nor does it aim at seeking regional hegemony. That is what sets this relationship apart from other bilateral relations in the world, Wu said.
Stabilizer for peace
In the Tuesday interview, Xi noted that the world is now undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, and China is ready to join Russia in achieving greater progress for the cooperation among the BRICS members and the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
While global cooperation is rattled by uncertainties as the Trump administration continues to turn its back on international treaties and organizations, the world needs a stronger voice from China and Russia on issues of security and climate change, especially when efforts from European countries are limited, analysts noted.
China and Russia have been stabilizers for the global order and can prevent it from breaking down at a time when the US is actively destabilizing the world and expecting to gain from that instability, Zhang Shuhua, director of the Institute of Political Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Bilateral cooperation is progressing in an all-around manner that covers economic, political, social, cultural and people-to-people sectors, as well as military, security and hi-tech areas, and the visit this time, with an upgraded partnership, will further their exchanges and generate more results, Zhang said.
However, China has no intention of forming a clique that would cause a split or confrontation between the East and the West, Zhang said.
On the contrary, China’s strategy is to resist and relieve the negative impact caused by irresponsible moves from the US and the unscrupulous actions taken by the current US president, he said.
China-Russia cooperation does not target any third party, and the cooperation in the past decades has shown that the two countries are capable of jointly countering any pressure from outside, Feng Shaolei, director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, told the Global Times.
Wu stressed that contrary to targeting any particular country, the cooperation is a “counter to hegemony” as the two are firm supporters of world peace and multilateralism.
In 2018, two-way trade between the two countries hit a record high of $107.1 billion, up by 27.1 percent year on year, which also marks the highest growth rate among China’s top 10 trading partners.
Major cooperation projects between the two countries have been steadily carried out in areas like energy, transportation and aviation. The two countries are also stepping up efforts to synergize the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.
New domains of cooperation keep emerging, including the digital economy, small and medium-sized enterprises, high technology, Far East development and Arctic exploration.
The wide-body aircraft development project and other cooperation in the nuclear sector, aerospace, manufacturing and telecommunications could be the future engine to drive their economic growth, Feng said.
The understanding, trust and respect fostered during their interactions, as well as the two leaders’ shared perceptions on governance and the responsibility to make their countries greater, are behind the strong and stable bilateral relations, analysts said.
In the Tuesday interview with Russian media, Xi called Putin his “best and bosom friend” and said that he has had closer interactions with President Putin “than with any other foreign colleague.”
In some of the most memorable moments, the two leaders honored each other with the highest medals of their countries, watched an ice hockey match between Chinese and Russian children, and cooked traditional Chinese and Russian pancakes.
Over the past six years, Xi has met Putin nearly 30 times in an unusually vigorous streak of head-of-state diplomacy, the Xinhua News Agency said in an article published on Wednesday.